“Dalek,” Doctor Who, Season 1, Episode 6

This show’s entry follows the style of Dan Harmon’s story circle.

Dan Harmon's story circle

You would make a good Dalek.

The Doctor, Rose, Adam, and Henrey van Statten, face off against the Dalek.

1) In a zone of comfort

The Doctor starts this episode showing off for Rose in Henry van Statten’s underground museum. The Doctor and Rose appear in the Museum of Alien Artifacts. The Doctor points out several of them, including the head of a Cyberman, something that we haven’t seen thus far in the series, and calls it a former enemy or friend. As they look around, security notices them and surrounds them. Statten has a vast collection, and the Doctor’s in-depth understanding of it leads directly to what he labels as the cage where his greatest specimen is kept.

2) They desire something

It turns out to be a Dalek, which we as huge fans all immediately recognize. The Doctor, finding himself locked in a room with one panics and tries to get out. He confronts it. Pieces of the Time War come out. They’re both the last of their kind. The Dalek is waiting for orders, and the Doctor thinks that the only way any of them will escape dying themselves is to kill the Dalek. What Henry wants a vain sort of Americanized and misplaced validation of himself.

3) Enter an unfamiliar situation

The Doctor, now identified as another form of alien, stuck down in Statten’s collection of alien artifacts, is poked and prodded. The Doctor finds himself in an unfamiliar situation as he and the Dalek are both tortured, prodded, and tested by Statten’s people to get information out of them. It’s the first time in this series that we see the Doctor’s two hearts, something that I think is very important to him as a character and not just as a Time Lord.

4) Adapt to the situation

The Dalek, faced with its apparent impotence and inability to kill the Doctor is visited by Rose and Adam. I have more to say about Adam, but that will probably wait until the next episode. For now, Adam is a smart but goofy kid who works for Statten, cataloging new artifacts that come in. He has sort of a soft spot for Rose, who is probably the first girl his age that he has seen in however long it must be.

Rose touches the Dalek, a creature that seems just to be sad, and the Dalek does something that I’ve never seen happen before. It’s more than a physical touch. It works on the Dalek emotionally as well. It assimilates her DNA and extrapolates her relationship with a Time Lord, who must be the Doctor. To me, this is a subtle nod that not only is the Doctor in love with Rose, but they probably already have a physical relationship by this time. It takes this information and dissects it then manages to revitalize itself, some say it regenerates and begins to gain its power back. It easily breaks the code on the cell it’s in after they try to lock it back in there, and it chases Rose and Adam down the halls killing every military operative between them.

Near the end of the chase, Adam escapes through bulkhead doors that are being shut by the Doctor and Statten. Rose falls behind on the other side of the door, but not before the Dalek surprises everyone by flying up the stairwell when Adam remains convinced it couldn’t, possibly. It still can’t kill her and isn’t sure why.

It is not the first time as a die-hard fan that I’ve seen the Daleks fly. During the seventh Doctor’s time, in a show titled Remembrance of the Daleks, was the first time I saw one fly up the stairs. And although looking back on that clip now, it hardly looks as scary as it used to. I remember when that happened, completely flipping out. Oh no, now that the Daleks can get up the stairs, there is no hope for anyone now.

5) Get what they desired

Eventually, they have the Dalek surrounded. The Doctor is in command, Statten is playing along, trying to survive himself, and for the moment Rose and Adam seem to be out of danger. They cut loose, firing at the Dalek as many times as they can, but it doesn’t work the way they want to.

6) Pay a heavy price for winning

Statten’s military fires, but the Dalek rises into the air, shoots a pipe that causes it to rein in the room, and then electrifies the air, killing all the military personnel left.

The Dalek then faces off against the Doctor over the video comm and commends him, saying “You would make a good Dalek.” This horrifies him, and he takes a few minutes to fully understand what the creature means.

7) Return to their familiar situation

As the Dalek and Rose are coming up to the surface, the Dalek is thinking about what it wants. It needs someone to command it, to give it orders, and it doesn’t see its place in the universe anymore, so it wants to die. They do that as the Doctor and Adam are rummaging through the old broken tech, looking for something, anything to fight the Dalek with. I think it’s funny that they use the old hairdryer joke when they’re going through the old guns. Many a hairdryer have become sci-fi guns after they were spray-painted black.

8) They have overall changed

The Dalek doesn’t want to kill anymore. It reaches the surface with Rose, wanting to feel the sun on its skin. It opens up, allowing Rose to see its soft underbelly. It’s fully vulnerable, and when the Doctor arrives. It would be easily killable without its armor protecting it.

The Dalek is done. It only wants peace and to be allowed to stand down. The Doctor can’t kill the Dalek, either. Through Rose, he sees the change, and maybe for the first time, just how much even the life of a Dalek means.

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